Earmarks of Committee Members Probing Murtha Questioned
As I always say, read the whole thing.
Members of the House ethics committee, who are now investigating a pattern of lawmakers steering federal funds to generous defense contractors, are all set to have their pet military projects funded by the same committee whose activities they are probing. (italics by ed.)
The 10 committee members together would get 29 earmarks -- or $59 million in federal funding for projects they requested in their districts or states -- under a proposed House military spending bill up for a vote today or tomorrow.
The details were approved last week by the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee, whose practice of steering earmarks to a well-connected lobby firm close to the chairman, Rep. John P.
Murtha, is the subject of the ethics committee's investigation. Ethics
committee chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) would receive $9.5 million in three earmarks under Murtha's bill. That includes $4 million to clean up contamination at the former Almaden, Calif., Air Force Station, $2 million for "printed and conformal electronics" research, and $3.5 million to help Stanford University aeronautical
research into the use of parafin-based rocket fuel.
Last month, Lofgren's committee announced it was investigating the ties between members of Congress and PMA Group, a lobby firm run by one of Murtha's close friends. It did not name the members, but Murtha and fellow Defense Appropriation members Reps. Peter
Visclosky (D-Ind.) and Jim Moran (D-Va.) have longtime ties to PMA and have orchestrated hundreds of millions of dollars in earmarks to PMA clients in recent years. The PMA Group closed after being raided by the FBI late last year, and Visclosky's congressional records were subpoenaed in May by a grand jury investigating defense contracts.